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National Institute of Justice

National Institute of Justice

Various branches of the federal government in the United States are concerned with the forensic investigations of accidents, deaths, and crimes, and in determining both the cause of a particular incident and in taking steps to lessen the likelihood of a recurrence.

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) serves the United States Department of Justice in the areas of research, development, and evaluation. Established under the authority of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, its purpose is to provide independent, evidence-based tools to assist state and local law enforcement. Its programs address a variety of law-enforcement issues, including use of DNA evidence , drug abuse, and domestic violence.

Appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, the director of the NIJ is responsible for establishing objectives in alignment with Justice Department priorities, as well as the current needs of the field. It works to take account of views from professionals in all areas of criminal justice and related fields in its search for knowledge and tools to guide the policy and practice of law enforcement nationwide. On January 12, 2003, it reorganized, streamlining its structure from three offices to two, the Office of Development and Communications and the Office of Research and Evaluation.

NIJ has set research priorities in a number of fields, including law enforcement/policing; justice systems (sentencing, courts, prosecution, defense); corrections; investigative and forensic sciences (including DNA); counterterrorism/critical incidents; crime prevention/causes of crime; violence and victimization (including violent crimes); drugs, alcohol, and crime; interoperability, spatial information, and automated systems; and program evaluation. Among its programs are the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program (ADAM); Community Mapping, Planning, and Analysis for Safety Strategies (COMPASS); National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence; and the Violence Against Women and Family Violence Research and Evaluation Program.

see also FBI (United States Federal Bureau of Investigation); Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), United States Federal.

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